"Black Opera and Verdi": Talk by Naomi André on Thu. Oct. 25 at 5:15 in rm. 101

We are excited to announce that, on Thursday 10/25 at 5:15 in room 101, Prof. Naomi André (University of Michigan) will present a talk entitled

“Black Opera and Verdi: Ulrica, Aida, and Otello”

Please see abstract below. Prof. André is a distinguished scholar of Italian opera and of related issues of gender and race, and has just published a new book entitled Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement for University of Illinois Press.

On the next day, Prof. André will participate in an interdisciplinary conference on African-American contralto Marian Anderson, organized by the Music Department (with other entities at Penn) which will take place in the Kislak Center (Van Pelt Library). Please see here.


Abstract: In this talk prof. André outlines a way of thinking about opera through an engaged musicological approach that explores issues around performing signature roles in three Verdi masterpieces: Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera (1859), and the title roles in Aida (1871) and Otello (1887). Evolving constructions of race and identity shape our understandings of these operas today and raise provocative questions around the practice of blackface and representation. Embedded in the reception of these roles is the opportunity to examine how the music, text, and performer come together to provide multiple meanings today.  

The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Italian Studies at Penn.